Saturday, May 31, 2008

Taylor’s Monitor – Texas

I am sure that most Freemasons reading this have gone to eBay to look for various Masonic items, I purchased my copy of Morals and Dogma (circa 1919) from eBay right after initiation in the Entered Apprentice degree, and read it and found that Pikes thoughts in regards to the EA, FC and MM are fascinating to say the least.

Recently I was lucky enough to come across a real find, Taylor’s Monitor for Texas circa 1905 (for a real steal as well). This book was published 7 years before my grandfather was born, and gives an interesting glimpse into Texas Freemasonry 103 years ago. It shows that song was an integral part of Masonic ritual and that prayer was used more often, the biggest glaring difference is the burial ritual which has been revised multiple times; also it has additional addresses for a chaplain, solider, and foreigner. Here is the address to the solider after initiation:

Our institution breathes a spirit of general philanthropy. Its benefits, considered in a social view, are extensive. It unites all mankind. It, in every nation, opens an asylum to virtue in distress and grants hospitality to the necessitous and unfortunate. The sublime principles of universal goodness and love to all mankind, which are essential to it, cannot be lost in national distinction, prejudices and animosities. The rage of contest it has abated, and substituted in its stead the milder emotions of humanity. It has taught the pride of victory to give way to the dictates of an honorable connection.

Should your country demand your services in foreign wars, and should captivity be your portion, may you find affectionate Brethren where others would only find enemies.

In whatever nation you travel, when you meet a Mason, you will find a brother and a friend, who will do all in his power to serve you; and who will relieve you should you be poor or in distress, to the utmost of his ability and with ready cheerfulness.

Regarding the previous owner(s) I can tell you the book came from an estate sale in Nacogdoches, TX which is home to Milam Lodge #2 AF&AM which has a long and rich history in the state of Texas, the lodge actually was originally in Fort Nacogdoches (they have a great website, go check it out). The owner of this monitor was a Worshipful Master as he has earmarked the order of business section, it also appears that he was DDGM as well, as the duties and installation of the DDGM is ear marked as well. The book is in excellent condition, and has no writing on the inside of it. It has a little wear and tear, but given it’s age, it’s in excellent condition.

I think this is a book I will cherish for the many years to come.


ChuckEye said...

Congrats on the great find. My lodge meets in the building owned by Holland Lodge #1 of Texas. They've got a library room that I've only browsed, but I really want to get in there early one day when I have some time and see what kinds of similar Texas Masonic texts they might have. I'm sure it's a wealth...

JasonJ said...

I also saw that item posted on eBay. I chose not to bid on it because I already have a slightly older copy of the Taylor monitor.

While it's neat to see what is different, I thought it was equally fascinating to see what hasn't changed. In comparing to our current monitor, many things are still word-for-word. The artwork is even identical.

This early Taylor monitor also compares well with other monitors that date back a century before to the early 1800's. For example, the WM's prayer, "Vouchsafe thine aid, Almighty Father of the Universe, to this, our present convention...", during the EA degree is almost identical to those published in the late 1700's.

William Taylor was a PM in Texas and later served twice as GM of the Grand Lodge of Texas. He was the only person to serve twice as GM. His monitor was the first to be published for Texas. It has been changed and revised over the years through several editions, but many things in the current monitor have stayed the same.

flotown79 said...
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